US pig iron importers end panic buying; price softens

The pig iron import price in the United States softened during the week to Friday April 1 because buyers have stopped panic buying

A further price reduction is doubtful, however, due to the limited availability of pig iron globally and expectations of scrap price increases in April.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for pig iron, import, cfr Gulf of Mexico, US was $1,000-1,010 per tonne on Friday, narrowing downward by $20 per tonne from $1,000-1,030 per tonne a week before.

“Seems that buyers have found solutions and panic buying is finished,“ one trader said.

Assessments of the market level for low-phosphorous pig iron were reported at $1,000-1,010 per tonne cfr. That was in line with latest bookings of such material in mid-March.

Offers of pig iron from India, which also can supply low-phosphorous material, were at $1,000-1,010 per tonne cfr.

Several sources did reported offers at wider range - $955 per tonne cfr and $1,050 per tonne cfr. But both these numbers were not widely confirmed.

“Nobody owns any Indian material, and there are about seven traders who are taking different approaches, with some indicating they will try to buy at lower levels than others,“ one buyer in the US said.

Offers of Russia-origin material remained $1,000 per tonne cfr. Meanwhile, one source said that a supplier was supposed to sell at as low as $900 per tonne cfr. But even the low price, which is well below the market level, couldn’t attracts buyers.

“Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we have stopped buying pig iron from Russia,“ one of the largest buyers in the US said. “We accepted purchased material prior to the invasion that was already in route, however we have not purchased any new material.“

Fastmarkets also have heard estimations that the US has pig iron deficit of around 2 million tonnes through the end of the year, “so I expect prices to remain strong,“ the buyer said.

“Scrap will go up maybe $150 per tonne or so in April it seems, which will lend support to pig iron and HRC prices,“ he added.

Offers of high-phosphorous pig iron from Brazil were reported early during the week at $950 per tonne fob, or close to $990-1,000 per tonne cfr. Later during the week, one of exporters from Brazil reportedly reduced offers to $930 per tonne fob, or $970-980 per tonne cfr.

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